UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance will present a classic Shakespearean comedy beginning April 26, with five performances of Love’s Labor’s Lost at the University Theatre in Theatre Hall. Guest directed by veteran theatre professional Gale Childs Daly, the raucous tale is sure to entertain — with or without a traditional storyline.
“It has no plot — that’s the thing that makes Love’s Labor’s Lost unusual in the Shakespearean canon,” Childs Daly said. People say, ‘oh you’re doing that play that has no story.’ And I have to say, well that’s not quite true. It does have a wonderful story, but it’s mostly about love and relationships and what happens between men and women.
“And there is no real plot or conflict in the play, necessarily, except for the fact that the men have take a vow to study for three years and to not see women for three years. And as soon as they make the vow, the women appear.”
UW-Green Bay senior Derek James Knabenbauer plays the character Berowne, a dialogue-rich role that is challenging yet enjoyable. It’s his first time performing Shakespeare, Knabenbauer said — he’s enjoyed it, and audiences will, too.
“It is a comedy, regardless of how high the language is,” Knabenbauer said. “It’s still going to be very goofy. It’s going to have a lot of physical comedy, and I think anybody who enjoys plays will enjoy it.”
Sophomore Ashley Wisneski plays the Princess of France, also in her first Shakespeare role. She says audiences will relate to the characters in the performance.
“It’s going to be very understandable, because besides the language, there is a lot of physical comedy,” Wisneski said. “And we’re all — it’s human nature up there. It’s girls playing hard to get; it’s men trying to woo women in the most ridiculous ways. So you’re going to see a lot of human nature up there.”
Childs Daly has taught and directed Shakespeare for two decades, and says the language can be daunting for those new to performing the famous bard’s works. But she also had high praise for the UW-Green Bay cast members, who have worked hard to master the unfamiliar style.
“It’s the language that’s the biggest challenge,” Childs Daly said. “And once you know how to unlock it, it becomes easy. I call it being a verse detective — I lead them through the text and say, ‘what are the clues that Shakespeare’s giving you about your character, in this language?’ And once they’ve unlocked the idea that it’s written in poetry and it’s spoken as poetry, then the doors open — and off we go.”
As for audiences, Childs Daly predicts Love’s Labor’s Lost will have a wide-ranging appeal.
“I think everyone will enjoy this play,” she said. “Anyone who’s been in love will enjoy the play; everybody who has lost their love will enjoy the play. And anyone who likes to laugh. I just think this is a play that’s accessible to all different kinds of people.
“And I encourage people who say, ‘oh, you know, I can’t go see Shakespeare; I don’t understand what’s going on’ — I invite them to come to our play. And I think maybe we’ll change their minds.”
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